The NICE Initiative Blog is meant to help women entrepreneurs in the iEra. We women are hard wired to measure overall job satisfaction and pride in our performance, by calibrating how much of a positive impact we have on community, not just ourselves.
Mission: To provide strategies, forums, seminars, and opportunities, to help more women succeed and balance technology and humanity. It's time.
"Even some of the smartest people on the planet, building some of the most world changing products in all of history, often forget that there are actual human beings on the other side of technology."
— Randi Zuckerberg, Author: Dot Complicated
"Smart phones and social media expand our universe. We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever."
— Daniel Goleman, Author: Social Intelligence
I’m an avid reader, and thanks to my Maurice Pine Library (who is hosting a book signing for me today, thanks!), I often read several books at once. It keeps things interesting, and gives me good practice putting real and digital bookmarks to good use, and creating notebooks in Evernote, where I keep my clipped web links, notes, and misc. impressions of a variety of topics and books I’ve read. I’m currently reading the two books mentioned in the quotes above, and Creativity Inc. The latter was mentioned in my latest Wordpress post. In it, I asked this question:
Is entrepreneurship a work of art or a work of heart?
It’s a theme I’ve explored in previous posts I wrote here on Tumblr, there on Wordpress, and even for my column on LinkedIn and The Huffington Post. It started when I wrote my book, The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur .
In it, I discuss balancing humanity and technology in today’s startup culture and social media marathon. One which is an endurance race to gain a customer’s attention span and loyalty. One where entrepreneurs in particular need to know about two buzzwords; social currency and behavioral economics, and how to creatively and methodically wield these new tools of the Digital Age.
That’s where today’s question comes into play:
What makes content go viral?
I am known to be a social entrepreneur, who didn’t go into entrepreneurship for the money. But I am also well aware of the current state of affairs re: the shared economy, the rise of consumer power, and the continued glass ceiling women in entrepreneurship have to contend with. That’s partially why I try so hard to learn about marketing, and to find time to blog about it and other related topics. It’s important to me to leave a bread crumb trail for the Sisterhood; so needed in today’s iEra!
I’ve already shared tips and insights into content curation and content creation, but now want to share tips re: the next step of content marketing; virality.
It’s something ALL of us need to achieve as entrepreneurs. Whether one is a service based entrepreneur like myself or a product based entrepreneur, it is always on our minds and to-do lists. I thus want to share this post with you which has excellent, succinct tips on fostering viral content….
Best. Social Media. Content Marketing. Infographic. Ever.
It dovetails nicely with one of my NICE Initiative Seminars, Crafting a Digital Avatar with Heart, which will be the topic of my library talk tonight.
I want to thank Diane Bertolin, fellow female entrepreneur and blogger, for putting this article on my radar today. It’s SO great that I am dedicating a post to this link alone! It’s already saved in my Evernote notebook and in my Pocket App :-)
I want to thank fellow Twitterati, Liz M Lopez, for sharing the first picture below, “Social Media Explained” on LinkedIn last week, and putting it on my radar as well. It’s a funny look at the various digital platforms out there. It gives one food for thought about viral content, and how to tailor it through different channels. I already posted it on this board, my NICE Initiative Board, on Pinterest :-)
"My advice to people looking at my life is not to follow my footprint but to go out there and make their own."
— Jackie Joyner- Kersee
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
In my first post in this Tumblr series about Summer Homework for Entrepreneurs I listed 5 suggestions. They are based on my NICE Initiative philosophy and story, and my ongoing mission to balance humanity and technology. Here they are again:
THE NICE INITIATIVE SUMMER HOMEWORK:
1. To authentically show transparency re: company culture
2. To consistently integrate digital marketing with the overall mission
3. To easily access/provide a crucial virtual mentorship and collaboration tool which yields:
• Emotional resonance by showing other viewpoints and that you “get” them, especially when you cite other people’s posts in yours. I call this “connecting the digital dots in the iEra”. It’s how we learn, how we partially display social media etiquette, and how a woman in business can subtly display her cooperation and emotional intelligence skills. Also, it happens to be one of my signature blogger moves i.e. stylistic structures (as well as providing 2 quotes to start each post:) which I employ for more interesting writing!
• Much needed thought leadership on the power and pitfalls of today’s startup culture….especially for women founders!
So how can women bloggers in entrepreneurship better walk the tightrope between marketing their service/product i.e. promo-selfies and displaying their unique voice? How does one imbue their digital footprint with meaning and individuality?
There is much chatter in the blogosphere about best practices re: one’s social media wording, web traffic, and marketing campaign strategy. There is less chatter about practical, easy, and free ways women in business in particular can both follow a breadcrumb trail and create their own, so that others learn valuable lessons about what it really takes to succeed in today’s startup culture, and how success is perceived. So that we can contribute to the ongoing debate about whether or not entrepreneurship is learned by doing or taught by seeing.
Here are Penina’s Pointers re: Digital Breadcrumb Trails for ‘Treps:
1. Consider blogging and sharing/citing others’ posts, to show that you are NICE (Nice. Informed. Competent. Entrepreneurial).
2. Consider writing book/misc. reviews for Amazon, and use your business signature! It’s OK to brag a bit. Be a micro-blogger and critic! See this sample of various reviews I’ve done on Amazon, using my business account. (Yes, entrepreneurs should have a personal AND business account for less confusion, two wish lists, two different credit cards on file, and an easy way to positively expand your digital footprint!)
3. Consider creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel with trailers. Be a visual storyteller and get in touch with your creativity and tech-savvy! Prepare yourself for giving a TED Talk one day…oh wait, that’s my dream :-)
4. Consider joining Twitter and Google+, and becoming part of different “communities” and forming your own ecosystems. Be both a student and teacher of the universal classroom created by social media! Be strategic about your social media presence, especially if you are a woman founder! P.S. There’s life beyond Facebook, especially since the recent algorithm changes means that your business page may not be getting the reach you wanted. I had that happen on Facebook, but I am really loving the engagement I’m getting on Twitter and Google+. Both channels are also a great way to curate content i.e. do “social listening”!
5. Consider uploading attachments on your LinkedIn profile, white papers etc. and create a co-existing Slideshare account that uses your LinkedIn password for access. Be helpful! I actually share my decks and others too, in my Public Evernote Notebook of Free PDFs, which is linked to my website.
6. Consider becoming active in social causes and publicizing the good work these organizations do. Try guest speaking and guest blogging. I am a big supporter of Autism advocacy and have a monthly column in the Friendship Circle Blog. I am also a big supporter of our American library system and will be speaking at this library on 7/21/14, about the breadcrumb trail of social media, and of the important roles libraries in general play re: breadcrumb trails for all entrepreneurs.
I will leave you with this excellent post about 5 questions to ask yourself re: leadership, which I believe is both an active and passive (digital footprint) process. I also believe that these are 5 crucial questions to ask yourself about your entrepreneurial (and blogger) breadcrumb trail….the one you create by first following others; online and offline.
To paraphrase the awesome Apple™ iPad® ad: What will your verse be?
To be continued…..
"It is very telling what we don’t hear in eulogies. We almost never hear things like: “She never stopped working. She ate lunch at her desk. Every day.”
— Arianna Huffington, Thrive
"Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process, and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work, and the bliss of leisure."
Americans just celebrated Independence Day, and in my latest Wordpress post, I wrote about its implications for innovation and entrepreneurship. I wrote about what I think the difference is between independence and freedom. What the difference is between being busy vs. being productive. How to rethink one’s work-life balance and ten tactics to get you started.
Summer is an excellent time to live in the present, and make it all about the “now”. To take time to reflect and reenergize. It’s why I suggested 5 homework assignments for entrepreneurs in this recent Tumblr post, which I will be expanding upon here as the summer goes on. The first assignment was:
Take time to regularly unplug from technology this summer.
A “digital detox” is becoming a real necessity, not just a luxury, for more and more people in this day and age. We need tech to help us travel more efficiently, something I advocate for. Road trips and a change of scenery are recommended for everyone to take time out to do…. if they can this summer! But we need to unplug from technology while doing so. Why?
It’s something that entrepreneurs in particular need to be mindful of. When? When reframing success and failure. When harnessing creative thinking for problem solving (our raison d’être). When challenges arise and life gets hard. Life is not a Disney film, and entrepreneurship is a roller coaster, especially if you are like me; trying to embed social entrepreneurship into my company’s DNA, and trying to pursue profit AND purpose. It’s all about attitude, mindset (the cousin to attitude), and commitment to your legacy.
These are things I wrote of in my book, The NICE Reboot, and speak about. I discuss them in my NICE Initiative Seminars which have officially started in June, when I spoke for the WCEC Event in NJ. Achieving a living legacy and better balance of humanity and technology are things I passionately believe in; which is why I am mindful to monitor my digital reputation and digital footprint, my need for a regularly scheduled “digital detox”, and my ever evolving Theory of Mind (perspective, empathy). It’s why I love the two photos I share below, the first of which was given to me by Richard Zreik after he reviewed my book on Amazon.
Unplugging from technology allows you to have a better mind-body connection and see things with your mind’s eye, not just your actual eye. This facilitates episodic memory, learning, and visualization of the actions you want to take to achieve goals. It also allows you to manage stress, remember what it means to be human, and remember why you are taking the journey you’re on in the first place; no matter who you are or what it is.
I had a complete “digital detox” during the long July 4th weekend and jotted down 4 takeaways….what I gained, what unplugging can do for others. Here are four benefits to consider:
1. Change your view, change your inner landscape’s topography
2. Rediscover your 5 senses, rediscover your happy memories and purpose
3. Reboot your inertia, reboot your “moxie” and drive
4. Listen to your inner voice, so you can add value later on to the collective voice of your industry/profession
There’s an interesting deck on Slideshare that’s on my radar as a futurist. It’s entitled “20 Jobs of the Future” and slide #17 is “Digital Detox Therapist”. I kid you not! Click here to see the entire deck. A book about the perils of being connected to tech all the time is in the works. Click here to learn more. There’s even a camp for adults where you pay someone else to enforce your “digital detox” which you can read about here. I think that’s rather extreme, but I applaud the sentiment behind it.
We all need to weigh the pros and cons of being connected to tech all the time. Summer is a great time to do this, especially when Nature beckons, just like it does in this cool commercial, “The Great Outdoors”. Entrepreneurs in particular, who have MANY reasons to better balance humanity and technology, need to embrace unplugging more often. We need to view the “digital detox” as one more weapon in their arsenal against stagnant thinking, burnout, and <gasp>, the dreaded “promo-selfie” on social media. My third photo below says it all!
To be continued….
"I never take myself or other people for granted."
— Jackie Joyner-Kersee
"Goodness is about….how we treat other people."
— Dennis Prager
The July 4th holiday weekend is upon us, and many Americans will be celebrating Independence Day with family and friends, good food and an outdoor BBQ (I hope:), and some long overdue and well deserved downtime. In my last post here on Tumblr, I wrote about summer homework for entrepreneurs. I suggested a list of 4 assignments, starting with unplugging from technology and your social media feeds.
This holiday weekend is a great time to break bad habits and start new ones for increased productivity. Habits that help you work smarter, not harder. Habits that help you be happier. Habits that help you learn better. So that you can more effectively re-connect with people, and yourself, including your "inner child", in real time. So that you implement network building, not just networking; something I wrote of in last week’s Wordpress post, which you can read here.
There is power in being interested in others. There is power in recreating yourself, each time you take a “digital detox” and let your inner voice get louder. There is power in spending time with friends and family, especially if children are involved. These are important things to remember, especially as entrepreneurs. As I wrote in my latest blogpost for LinkedIn about the pursuit of the American Dream:
What we choose to do this summer as a family, has implications for the future of our nation’s children, not just ourselves. It has implications for the stability and longevity of the American job market too. It’s something we all need to be concerned about, given the global and digital future of our collective workplace.
What we choose to do this summer, starting with Independence Day, will have an impact on our long term efforts to lead a more fulfilling, authentic and balanced life. It sets examples for others, especially children, something I’m mindful of as an educator, social entrepreneur, and someone who has a very visible digital footprint. Taking a “digital detox” is part of due diligence and entrepreneurial maintenance re: digital reputation management and harnessing time. Think of changing a car’s oil, or a Brita filter. It’s something I’ve written about in my book, The NICE Reboot, and in previous blogposts here, on Wordpress, and even in The Huffington Post.
So let’s celebrate the birthday of this great land, and the people in it. Let’s declare our independence from “group think” and busy work. Let’s take time to rethink our entrepreneurial game plan and overall goals in life. Let’s try to better balance our cravings for humanity and technology in today’s startup culture! Let’s actually take a physical and mental vacation!
I want to end with two powerful photos that really resonated with me and fit nicely with the theme of this post. There is a new career description out there that entrepreneurs need to be aware of….futurist. It’s on my radar now, and will perhaps be written of again in depth another time. The question is:
What are you doing TODAY to shape your family’s future TOMORROW?
To be continued…..
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.
It’s exciting to be able to have the opportunity to do things I always dreamed of as a kid.
— Warren Buffet
Summertime is here and for those of us in the Northeast who endured Snowmageddon 2014, it’s a pleasure to be able to be outdoors, unwrap some of those layers, and not worry about digging out our cars! Summer is a time when people are more inclined to do a “digital detox”. To unplug from their digital avatar so that they can heed their inner voice, take stock of what they learned so far, and connect more with people face to face. Which begs the questions for entrepreneurs in the Digital Age……
What summer homework should I be doing?
In my latest Wordpress post I asked another pithy question:
Does the Education of Self Hinge On Learning From Others?
As a woman entrepreneur who believes that we are all both students and teachers in today’s startup culture, I make it a point to stress in my writings and social media posts that entrepreneurship is like the Hero’s Journey a la Joseph Campbell. It’s something that I wrote of in my book, The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur.
It’s something I read about again in this excellent blogpost by Adam Toren, cofounder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. Since I view entrepreneurship as a process, I am less wary than others of my ilk (service based social entrepreneurs who happen to be female) when I encounter detours (which some see as mistakes and/or obstacles), or see that my trajectory is not a straight line.
Someone else who writes about the female journey of success and self discovery is Tina Fey, whom I also mentioned in my book. Here is the excerpt:
Many of us have read Fey’s hilarious, perceptive, plainspoken observations in her bestseller, Bossypants. I recommend it to all female entrepreneurs for both its humor and reflections about humanity. One passage in the book in particular resonated with me. I feel that we women are a different breed from men, male entrepreneurs in particular. That’s why I was so taken with Fey’s Rules of Improvisation on pages 84–85. Those two pages sum up ways in which women can more successfully contribute to those around them and more successfully navigate the balancing act of life and work. Fey provides keen strategies to implement, whether it be when conversing with others or trying to carve out a place for yourself professionally. Fey brilliantly suggests that to do so women should do more of the following:
- Agree. “Start with a yes and see where that takes you.”
- Make statements. “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Make statements with your actions and your voice.”
- Make mistakes. “There are no mistakes, only opportunities. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident.”
I re-read Tina’s truly great book Bossypants over the weekend again which got me thinking what else women entrepreneurs should be doing more of, this summer and beyond. I started to write myself some notes in Evernote, to enhance my visual thinking and organize my thoughts for this post.
I realized that my Theory of Mind, my experience as an educator/pediatric speech therapist, not just a public speaker and entrepreneur, and my personal credo have all influenced my take on summer homework for entrepreneurs. I’d like to share that list (and welcome comments on what readers think should be added/omitted/revised and why!)
THE NICE INITIATIVE SUMMER HOMEWORK:
1. Take time to regularly unplug from technology this summer.
It’s actually good for you! Read this post and find out why. See this cool but sad video about the importance of a regular “digital detox”. Take time to redefine and refine your vision. Go see nature and the beauty of the real world around you, and reacquaint yourself with your mind’s eye, not just what you look at on your screens!
2. Rethink your digital footprint, especially if you are a blogger, and back off a bit and/or mix it up a bit.
This post gives you 5 signs you need to actually play hooky from blogging, although I personally suggest trying a different tack while maintaining momentum. This post gives you 10 signs that your life is on “cruise control”; your real life and your digital one. Reclaim both this summer, and rediscover yourself!
3. Read more!
Invest in a library card and visit a bookstore JUST to browse! Read about things NOT related to your field of expertise, and read for fun and future success. Expand your horizons, empathy, and creativity. This post about the evolution of imagination, and this post on lessons from Dr. Seuss help me make my point: Entrepreneurship is all about seeing patterns where others don’t, resulting in the ability to problem solve and positively exploit situations in ways others won’t.
4. Play more!
Get in touch with your inner child! It’s something that I wrote of in my book and excerpted here for The Huffington Post a while back. If adults today ask themselves, “Are you playing enough?” chances are the answer is no. Free play is indeed the best homework, something I was thrilled to read about here in The Atlantic this week. Entrepreneurship can be a mentally grueling, physically solitary, and emotionally dampening experience, especially in today’s startup culture and Hunger Games mentality! Remembering to reconnect with your inner child helps you stay balanced, not to mention helps you proactively engage in digital reputation management so that you don’t post things you’ll regret later. In my book I offer this litmus test: If you don’t want yourself as a child, or your own child to know you posted this sentence/picture etc. then make sure NOT to do “drive by” postings!
5. Choose to pay it forward. Agree to provide thought leadership and real/virtual mentorship for others.
It’s in our female entrepreneurial DNA to calibrate our performance and success by how much of a positive impact our service/product has on our community, not just ourselves. My company’s name is Socially Speaking LLC because I’m all about helping people turn Me into We; in the classroom, in the startup arena, and online in the myriad of digital ecosystems which can and should intersect. Thanks to a globally shrinking community due to technological advances, and opportunities for increased civic engagement due to social activism, doing good can go beyond posting a hashtag such as #SaveOurGirls.
It starts small, like this little boy’s lending library in front of his house, but it continues with your decision to mentor someone or even provide a helpful blogpost to get others thinking about important matters. I want to thank Doug LaTulipe for creating his terrific and timely LinkedIn group, Pay It Forward, and for inviting me to participate. I also want to thank him for sharing this recent post on the nuts and bolts of mentorship. I also recommend this great post on how to be a better advisor to other startup entrepreneurs.
I will be taking these suggestions to heart and in the coming weeks, I will be blogging here on Tumblr how I’ve implemented these homework assignments. The countdown starts now, but I will leave you with one final thought…..
Kathleen Davis, the Leadership Editor at Fast Company recently asked us in this very interesting post:
“Can Entrepreneur Barbie change girls’ career ambitions?”
I’d like to issue a challenge for myself and other woman startup entrepreneurs looking to make a real difference professionally AND personally:
Can following The NICE Initiative Summer Homework List change the trajectory of both your overall journey and aspiration(s)?
On your mark. Get set. Go!
"We don’t stop going to school when we graduate"
— Carol Burnett
"I’ve never let schooling interfere with my education"
— Mark Twain
School’s out and summer is upon us, but being human means we’re always busy learning, growing, doing, and experiencing. There is no hiatus from the human condition, at least while one is alive! There is also no shortcut to success in life. It’s the result of hard work, discerning and positively exploiting patterns, and harnessing time; things I’ve written about previously here on Tumblr.
June is always a busy time for me, and this month is no exception. As the school year draws to a close, I’ve been trying to work smarter, not harder. To actually be productive, not just busy. I’ve also been trying to be more authentic and balance humanity with technology; in my personal and professional life. It’s led me to professional development opportunities causing me to ponder the truth about entrepreneurship, and why one’s digital footprint and digital avatar matter.
I’ve been doing these things wearing all my hats; my speech therapist & Autism specialist hats, my iPad Evangelist & Digital Citizen hats, my ed-tech consultant hat, and my entrepreneur hat. It’s been exhilarating but exhausting juggling many different balls in the air. It’s been educational and even entertaining, regularly curating content on a variety of topics (thanks Zite App, Evernote App, and Pocket App! I couldn’t do this without you all!).
So what have I learned that I can share with my fellow female entrepreneurs?
In my book, The NICE Reboot- A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur, I created a Penina’s Pointer’s Section for each chapter with practical takeaways. I try to do the same in my seminars, and plan on doing this when I launch The NICE Initiative. I want to do the same here.
But first I need to publicly thank Diane Bertolin; friend, mentor, fellow entrepreneur extraordinaire, and fellow blogger with beautiful style and content, for sharing pointers from my book, in her latest blogpost. I’m humbled and honored to share her insights, which you can read here.
Penina’s Pointers- What Women Entrepreneurs Should Know:
1. Cash is king.
Don’t kid yourself, entrepreneurship is war. It’s something I’ve experienced first hand, and something Marty Zwilling shared in his blogpost about this book. Cash-flow management is a crucial component of your battle plan! So is exercising the imagination muscles in order to creatively execute your mission, problem solve re: your service/product delivery and your cash flow, and strategize re: your need to build rapport with and retain paying clients. It’s something I wrote more of in my book when I discuss business plans and getting clients. It’s something on my mind when I hear and read about the many challenges facing women seeking venture capital or still trying to bootstrap, like me.
2. Content curation is queen.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, there are countless opportunities for virtual mentorship and thought leadership to learn and implement, not just for the purpose of digital marketing i.e. promo-selfies. Although providing helpful content is a step towards understanding your buyer personae; something that Rieva Lesonsky demonstrates beautifully in this post, and Diane Bertolin displays in this free eBook on Archetypes (which I share with others in my Evernote Notebook on my NICE Website). Content curation is a way of life for today’s entrepreneur who is both student and teacher. Start by asking these questions and then reading this great eBook, free from Geri Stengel. continue by browsing this TED Playlist and staying current with content curation tools, cited by Jeff Bullas. I personally love the free Zite App, my #1 MVP, and can’t believe it’s still not well known!
3. Humor is your knight.
Entrepreneurship can be a stressful, often grueling, sometimes lonely, and unpredictable roller coaster ride, especially if you are a woman founder providing a service, not a product, and your entrepreneurship is classified as a non-tech startup. Honing one’s sense of humor for better work/life balance is an active process; like learning, like improving one’s tech savvy or public speaking skills. It’s something I’ve discussed in my Socially Speaking™ Seminars re: Autism Intervention, and wrote of at length in my book, The NICE Reboot. You can learn more about my take on humor from this deck on my Slideshare page.
Humor is needed to help us better learn and accept the workings of our world, take constructive criticism, be resilient, and counteract perfectionism; the enemy of all human beings. Understanding and using comedy can actually improve our leadership skills, and our ability to accept ourselves. It can also enhance our deep learning and episodic memory, our perceptions about reality and people in our reality AKA Theory of Mind, and the way we view the world at large. It’s one of the reasons I love funny commercials, especially this one for the rumored Apple iWatch, and why I love observing and interacting with animals. See these photos of animals posing in what appears to be different Yoga positions, and tell me you’re not laughing!
Entrepreneurship today is very much a chess game where the players can move across the board much more quickly and strategic alliances are that much more crucial. That’s why social media and one’s visibility within it are essential to one’s game plan. That’s why seeking help and mentorship are important components of one’s workflow, especially if you are a woman entrepreneur.
We’ve come a long way since women were granted the right to vote! Our collective thought leadership and portrayal in the media has as well. Just look at these hilarious, vintage, and sexist ads, to see what I mean!
The question is, what are you doing to “push the envelope” of your entrepreneurial journey?
I love these two quotes by JK Rowling and Jack Welch, which I found on Google+ and Pinterest (you can find me there too:) and posted below.
Interested in more “Penina’s Pointers” re: women entrepreneurship and leadership in the Digital Age? You can find me and my writings on LinkedIn, HuffPost, Wordpress, and here.
Interested in live educational and entertaining insights and practical takeaways re: women entrepreneurship and leadership in the iEra? You can learn more about hiring me to speak at your next event by visiting my LinkedIn profile or my NICE website. I hope we can connect soon!
"I work with other people to really get people to understand what their unique genius is by understanding their archetypal complements.”
— Diane Bertolin, Archetypal Consultant, Interview: School for Startups Radio, June 6, 2014
"Stop thinking about technology! Think about the human solution."
— Brian Solis, Principal: Altimeter Group, Author: What’s the Future of Business, Tumblr Post, June 10, 2014
As an educator and Autism Specialist turned entrepreneur, I have been blogging about and particularly interested in the psychology of marketing and behavioral economics behind disruptive innovation and social media use in the iEra. It’s something on my radar again since Apple’s WWDC Keynote Address last week, which I wrote about for my blog on LinkedIn. You can read my post here. It’s on my mind again since I just gave a speech about current trends in social technology which raised questions re: time management, social media marketing campaigns, and balancing its overall use with humanity.
I just attended the Growth Meetup organized by Diana Kyser McNeff, for the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corporation of NJ. I presented some of the rules of engagement re: crafting one’s digital avatar.
Using my NICE lens and personal experience within the entrepreneurial and social media arenas, I provided these takeaways for the talented, diverse, intrepid, and intelligent women and two lone supportive gentlemen entrepreneurs I met:
- The real purpose of one’s digital avatar is to mirror one’s learning style, attitude, and actions to transition from Me to We re: digital citizenship and an entrepreneurial ecosystem
- The 3 E’s of Digital Avatar Engagement: educate, entertain, encourage change
- “Talking Human” as a digital avatar is accomplished best when using storytelling to foster emotional resonance via visuals and humor
- “Talking Human” as a digital avatar means problem solving and collaborating:
- Addressing pain points in your niche (social listening, content curation, content creation-blogging etc.)
- Citing blogposts and social media posts of others (attribution, sharing helpful and/or insightful information, thought leadership and virtual mentorship)
I also touched on the fact that digital citizenship today includes digital reputation management and crafting a digital avatar that:
• Fosters relationships & interactions across platforms
• Uses technology playfully AND meaningfully
• Connects behavior with products/brands
• Visibly networks & combines ideas & outcomes in new, positive, creative, and unexpected ways
Today’s startup culture is so tech-driven and competitive, it’s easy to forget that part of achieving self actualization is transitioning from Me to We. It’s easy to forget the “social” in social media, which is often used for trivial posts, selfies, and written promo-selfies. While those are part and parcel of the human condition, and result from our drive to grow customer loyalty and sales, we need to remember to “talk human”. To craft a digital avatar with heart. It’s more than just using stories and hashtags to promote activism and subsequent emotional attunement.
While both are important byproducts of digital avatar use, its real purpose is to consistently and creatively engage people in 3 ways:
• Educate them
• Entertain them
• Encourage changes in their behavior and thought process
This will have a ripple effect on the creation of impactful and meaningful social media exchanges between like minded people sharing an ecosystem not just a digital platform.
So that our collective mission online is more aligned with our individual missions in real time. So that we can do real good by making our entrepreneurial journey AND outcome about profit AND purpose, my ongoing mantra in my book, The NICE Reboot and the reason I am working on launching The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship.
One’s digital avatar is useful for an entrepreneur’s personal branding and for convincing someone why to purchase your service/product. It’s also quite useful for showcasing one’s archetype which can resonate with other people’s buyer personae. This gives your business a personality and subsequent leverage; something that I’ve learned, and that Millenials understand well. Something that’s often overlooked by seasoned, less tech-savvy CEOs.
The truth is that social media training is no longer optional.
Crafting a digital avatar with heart shouldn’t be either.
Want to learn how the NICE Initiative can help you “speak social” better and better balance your humanity and technology in today’s startup culture? Hire me to speak at your next entrepreneurship event on 6 timely and related topics! The Proposal PDFs are available for download on my Slideshare page and in my shared Evernote Notebook online. To learn more about my speaking history click here and here.
I look forward to having a human conversation and seeing how I can help you talk human in the Digital Age too!
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou
"It takes people to make the dream a reality.”
— Walt Disney
Last Thursday I attended my very first book signing at the annual BookExpo America at the Javits Center in Manhattan. I was there to autograph copies of my book, The NICE Reboot-A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur: How to Balance Your Cravings for Humanity & Technology in Today’s Startup Culture. I was there because as a professional speaker, I understand the power of face-to-face communication and networking. I was at that trade show to proactively and subsequently expand my contact list and learn from others.
New York City, where I’m from, is a very interesting place. It’s the ultimate networking event and people-watcher heaven for psychology grad students, medical students, marketers, lawyers, and writers, just to name a few. It’s no coincidence that the ultimate archetypal TV show Suits, takes place in Manhattan. It’s no coincidence that archetypal consultant and blogger extraordinaire Diane Bertolin recently wrote about Suits; (a show we both love) and about distinct personae being found in every situation/workplace/story. This venue was no exception.
People from all locales and industries (related to book publishing), were there to meet, greet, see, be seen, and get freebies. I couldn’t get over the misc. BookExpo swag, and how many tote bags were given out and lugged around! I couldn’t get over the line of people patiently waiting for an autographed copy of a David Baldacci book (I didn’t catch which one:) I couldn’t get over the lessons in manners and mannerisms playing out in front of my eyes, and then being reenacted by myself, as I set up my table with my books and pens, and juxtaposed my chair and the sign.
I became autographer, salesperson, philosopher, improv comic, and journalist, all in the span of a few hours! I was reminded of this quote:
"All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.
— William Shakespeare
I was also reminded that curiosity is underrated and that asking questions is a powerful way to connect with others, learn new things, and apply them. A group of female biker librarians from Ohio (I kid you not!) stopped by my booth. We started chatting and they asked for signed copies of my book, made out to them; their biker name and real name. Since this was a first for me, I asked each one a little about themselves so that I could personalize my inscription in their book.
One woman was very taken aback. Nervous that I somehow offended her by asking her questions about herself, I apologized profusely. She started laughing and said that nobody at BookExpo America (it was her third “tour”) had EVER signed her book while asking her how they could personalize it!
I was floored.
What’s the point of a book signing if not to humanize the author, the reader’s experience, and forge connections???
As I finished inscribing her book, the woman thanked me for teaching her something new about the entrepreneurial mindset vs. a writer’s mindset. Her words resonated with me long after she left my booth. I’m still thinking about our conversation and the book signing in general. I’m pondering how an entrepreneurial mindset differs from the other mindsets of writers at that trade show.
I’m thinking of 3 takeaways I want to share from my experience, using my own Theory of Mind and NICE lens in the process.
Lessons From a Book Signing & The Entrepreneurial Mindset:
1. It’s not about YOU! It’s about THEM!
I want people to buy, read, review on Amazon, and recommend my book to others. It’s that simple. But that book signing was not just about me. It was about them; their needs, their memories that shape them, and their feelings when meeting me. So I made sure to:
• Ask questions and ignore protocol (just sign it and keep the line moving, nope!).
• Use humor, something else I discuss in my book. Humor is essential in life, social communication, and in business, for so many reasons; some of which are listed here. I’ve written extensively about humor in my Wordpress blog (click here and here for a sampling) and in my Socially Speaking™ seminars and social skills curriculum I developed in 2010. Humor is a great connector and equalizer, something I’ve learned as both an educator/Autism specialist and entrepreneur. It’s one of our most powerful weapons as sentient human beings, and an untapped goldmine for entrepreneurs in particular!
2. If YOU have fun, it’s also fun for THEM!
I like to think I’m a creative person, but I know that I need to actively engage in pursuits and conversations that let my creativity flow. That’s why I regularly engage in “digital detox” and “Outdoor Therapy” every chance I get to ensure that my life is balanced. That’s why I’m a huge fan of reading books; all different genres. That’s why I advocate getting in touch with one’s inner child; especially as as an entrepreneur. I wrote about it in my book and again in this article for The Huffington Post. So I made sure to have fun with people and:
• Talk about what they’re reading, and their opinion of libraries.
• Talk about what they like to “play with” in their leisure time and what they played with as a child…which led to a deeper discussion about balancing humanity and technology. (which is why my book signing lasted 3 hours instead of the allotted one!)
3. If YOU understand yourself and your Theory of Mind, you can read THEM better and predict their movements/actions/wants/needs better!
It’s apparent that neuropsychology is no longer tethered just to the medical and/or educational arena. Marketing, biotech, business, and entrepreneurial folks have all joined the club and gotten 5 psychological gifts that help them woo, understand, retain, and troubleshoot for prospective/present/vacillating clients. It’s a wonderful world for deep thinkers and startup founders alike who can now harness the “power of the persona” from all points of entry…from getting venture capital i.e. seed money to generating “buzz”, to building better teams. I met so many people at different points of their entrepreneurial journey and made sure to mention that:
• Social media channels, especially Pinterest and Twitter, are great examples of content curation, visual storytelling, and social listening to gain insight into/provide information on buyer personae. I touch on this in my book too.
I learned so much from the wonderful people who attended my book signing; about networking, communication, opportunity, perspective, and authenticity. I tried to be helpful, respectful, and true to myself and to my NICE mission. Living a life that matters starts with conducting oneself a certain way; something that Maya Angelou taught us, something that my best friend who lost her battle with cancer in 2012 taught me. It’s why I dedicated my book to her. It’s why I am continuing to work on launching The NICE Initiative.
Manners and mannerisms have a common denominator - time. Time dictates which manners are called for when, and which mannerisms and vocabulary are accepted as the “norm” when. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope that one day soon, more women will tell me, "I was at BookExpo America 2014 and read your book, and will now recommend it and become a NICE Entrepreneur!"
Talk about a successful, empowering book signing!
"If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers."
— Clara Barton, Founder of The Red Cross, 1821-1912
"One’s legacy is not something to be considered near the end of a career. If we are to leave a legacy it must be managed from the beginning."
Memorial Day: A Time for Remembrance
Memorial Day is upon us, which has morphed into a long holiday weekend for many Americans; all of whom owe a debt of gratitude to our soldiers. Something I just wrote of in my Wordpress Blog, and shared again in my LinkedIn blog. You can see that post here. We need to thank those whose military service make the world a better place; especially those who died in action. To honor those American soldiers who find opportunities within the crisis and inspire us to ask ourselves, “What can I do with my life today?”
This is something that I’ve been thinking of, since my best friend lost her battle to breast cancer in 2012, prompting me to write my book , The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur. This is something that recently hit home again when:
• President Obama dedicated the 9/11 Memorial Museum in NY.
• I attended a subsequent women’s leadership and entrepreneurship symposium in NJ, which I wrote about in this article for The Huffington Post.
• I was just interviewed by fellow Fem Geek & ‘Trep Anie Akpe re: women in entrepreneurship and the technology space, which you can read about here.
• I again saw this awesome iPad Air commercial asking that immortal question, What will your verse be?
• I read this very moving, insightful post by fellow blogger and true social media guru Diane Bertolin, who shows us the real meaning of strength and grace.
• I read this poignant, thought provoking post by fellow entrepreneur and true woman leader Liesha Petrovich, who shows us the real meaning of resiliency and discipline.
What Will Your Verse Be?
Memorial Day is one of those American holidays that make us rethink our human need for connection with others; no matter our geographical locale, our digital avatar, our career, or our definition of strength and resiliency.
It makes us rethink what work/life balance looks like, and what our legacy will be. Our contributions to our inner circle (family and friends), our community, and our society as a whole. Our relationship with each other, near and far, thanks to the spread of technology, education, democracy, and yes, entrepreneurship. Our ongoing attempts to balance Me and We, humanity and technology, and even busyness with actual productivity. All of which impact on our need for self actualization. Our need to harness time and reframe success and failure; especially if we are in the entrepreneurship arena.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, because of the military service and personal sacrifices others have made. Who have preserved and still do, the freedoms and way of life that so many of us take for granted; especially today. I would like to humbly acknowledge the American troops; stateside and abroad, who will be forever remembered for their heroism. Who have taught me what resiliency really looks like. I would especially like to thank our other unsung heroes, the military wives, for their selflessness, sacrifices, and their bravery. For teaching me the true meaning of the terms “pivot” and “legacy”. For teaching me what it means to live a life of purpose.
I don’t define “legacy”, “success”, and “creating" using the parameters most people use. To me these words connote living a life that matters, that impacts others for the greater good. They convey an understanding of one’s role on this earth. They convey an understanding of the importance of using that knowledge to craft a life and career, where the mind and heart are in sync with daily routines and bank accounts. It’s about knowing that your story positively intersects with the story of others, creating a ripple effect that you may never know but others do. It’s about updating Maslow’s Hierarchy for today’s paradigm shifts within our globally, socially, and economically connected society.
Entrepreneurs can learn so much from our troops and their families….How to create services and products that solve real problems. How to help people globally long term. How to embed civic engagement and philanthropy in ongoing missions. These are the hallmarks of having achieved that sustainable legacy, and that true measure of humanity; self-actualization.
What do you want to be remembered for?
mitfit said: Howdy :) My name is Cheri Lyn Wilkinson, I am 24 years old and I could definitely use some help. About a year ago I came up with what I want to create and am finally at the very beginning stages of putting it together... for real. I work a full time job doing marketing and social media management - not a pro by any means - and then come home every night to work on my project. Would you be able to give me some advice on what I need to do next? - With A Smile, Cheri Lyn Wilkinson
Hi Cheri Lyn With a Smile :)
Welcome to the club and thanks for reaching out! The first thing I would do is update your LinkedIn Profile to say that you are an entrepreneur (you can see what I did with my title) and then join some groups in that arena to do social listening. You can also try to connect there, and on other digital platforms such as Google+ and Twitter, with other women ‘treps and gain virtual mentorship to start you off.
The second thing I would do is BUY MY BOOK, it can really help!
"The NICE Reboot-A Guide to Becoming a Better Entrepreneur" was recently published. It’s part how-to manual, part iPad Bootcamp, and part inspirational, but all educational and entertaining :) You can find it on Amazon:
Want to know more about what’s in the book and on my radar? Check out my other blog on Wordpress:
The third thing I would do is seek out some real time mentorship, starting with SCORE:
You can also visit my website, see my freebies and offerings, and contact me from there:
Good luck and stay in touch!
Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP
CEO Socially Speaking LLC
"Having strength in alliances….<means> operating within some kind of a sense that we were part of the international community and not outside of it."
— Madeleine Albright
"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
— Thomas Jefferson
Have you ever felt like you needed to slow down and live in the moment when everyone was urging you on? Have you ever felt like you were treading water in an ever churning ocean of “shoulds” and “coulds” in your mind? Which only increases with every act of multi-tasking you engage in; the bane of the iEra and of female entrepreneurship in particular? Multi-tasking is bad for you, and can lead to perfectionism, which is also proven to be bad for you; something I wrote of in my book, The NICE Reboot and in this article for The Huffington Post.
In fact, perfectionism and its byproduct, impostor syndrome, are on the rise, or so they say. Which is problematic for so many reasons in this Digital Age we’re in, especially for female entrepreneurs who trying to avoid mistakes and be proactive on social media. Who are biologically and psychologically hardwired to “live with and for purpose, not just profit”, when launching their startup. It’s the mantra of my NICE Initiative, which I am working on launching. It’s the mantra of anyone trying to get the most out of the entrepreneurial journey, not just outcome.
The entrepreneurial mindset differs from attitude; which is why the JOURNEY is such a crucial learning process for habits. Habits which women entrepreneurs need to develop. Habits which can and do conflict with the iEra perspective and social media frenzy. Society has come to expect “on-demand” services/products and a “quick fix” when problems arise. That’s why the study of failure is no longer so taboo, and desperately needed in all countries, not just in special education/Autism intervention (my other arena) or entrepreneur school.
It’s time to start a collective dialogue and reframe success and failure; in life, in entrepreneurship, and in our own inner landscapes. It’s why I follow global citizens Erik Steiner and Alastair Arnott on Twitter; just to name a few. Alastair recently posted this cool video on YouTube; really worth a look!
We need to reframe success and failure, to forge and strengthen an uneasy alliance between humanity and technology, and to foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration. Why? To advance widespread entrepreneurship which will positively impact international treaties and alliances, and global digital citizenship and education for all.
It’s time to de-fragment the entrepreneurial arena and open the silos. It’s time to reclaim all the disruptive innovation from the American tech-startups, so that people don’t wonder about the death of entrepreneurship in America. There continues to be an uneasy alliance in the US, between traditional entrepreneurs providing disruptive innovation through their products, and social entrepreneurs and consultants providing social reform through their service, as well as their mentorship along the way. I’ve observed it, lived it, and wrote about it.
it’s something I wrote about again in my latest Wordpress post, which you can read here.One of the ways to balance humanity and technology is to concentrate on the PROCESS, not just product. Another way it to use social media for the greater good, to provide virtual mentorship and social entrepreneurship opportunities for others.
One of the antidotes to “Impostor Syndrome” is to be and remain both a humble student and humble teacher; providing thought leadership that can help a person with his/her “eureka moment” that starts the entrepreneurial journey anew.
That’s why I’m taking my time launching The NICE Initiative , and choosing to remain a work in progress, so integral to the human condition overall. I am learning so much from the journey, and from the meaningful detours and wonderful people I’ve encountered along the way. Especially those who’ve reminded me of my belief, and one of my favorite quotes from my book, The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur-How to Balance Your Cravings for Humanity & Technology in Today’s Startup Culture:
Be a lifelong student of the why not?
I’d like to thank fellow entrepreneurial traveler Richard Zreik for reminding me that success lies in finding purpose, not just profit. I’d also like to thank him for reviewing my book on Amazon, and for creating this awesome photo and caption, using Haiku Deck for iPad, a favorite of mine!
"A woman is like a tea bag - you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
— Eleanor Roosevelt
"Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him."
— Groucho Marx
Dear Fellow Women Entrepreneurs,
Today on Mother’s Day, I feel the need to thank and pay tribute to ALL women of the world, not just my mother and the womenfolk in my life. I want to acknowledge the women from the past/present/future, all women in training, seasoned women, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, teachers, caregivers, and friends who knowingly and/or unknowingly make a difference in the world. Every day, In so many ways; in the world at large, and in their microcosm. A woman’s “reach” has significantly expanded the past few years, thanks to the blogosphere and social media. Social media is not just for marketing anymore, and the “one size fits all T-shirt” approach to entrepreneurship no longer applies either.
Your “voice” and digital avatar, your different personae and archetypes inspire women all over the globe to “push the envelope” and lead by example. To promote change; within ourselves, within our communities, and within the entrepreneurship space. To reboot our quest to balance humanity and technology in today’s Digital Age. Thanks to you, inspiring women whose Story has intersected with ours, we are learning, we are growing, and we are truly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
We are collectively working on honing our integrity, empathy, and thought leadership, thanks to you all! Your mentorship and virtual mentorship are helping us forge new paths and embark on new journeys. It’s inevitable professionally, thanks to the social media movement and trends re: cultural/company transparency. It’s gratifying personally, thanks to the increased wide-spread opportunities women have re: education and civic engagement.
One drop raises the sea. Educating one girl changes the world. Solving one problem has a ripple effect. These are not just clichés. These are truths. So is this…..We are reframing what work/life balance and disruptive innovation means for our sisters-in-arms, slowly but surely. We are reconfiguring the office of the future. We are creating value , and bringing a new level of productivity to the workplace. Through our innate empathy and thirst for knowledge, we are changing today’s startup culture from the inside out. The entrepreneurship ecosystem is becoming more collaborative, connected, and creative. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul!
So brag a little, on today of all days, you deserve it! Know that you are teaching us to live an extraordinary life. To use our mad skills to build a better version of ourselves and the place(s) we live in; in real time and online. You are empowering us to try new things as entrepreneurs, and ask why not? instead of why? You are inspiring us to rethink the status quo, reject it, and then redefine it, within the parameters of our own expanding possibilities and sense of self.
Isn’t that the reason smart girls who become even smarter women are so scary? Isn’t it time more women do something about it?
My thoughts and prayers are with you all, especially the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. My sincere thanks encompasses all women who strive to help another human being, no matter where or when, find his/her way and contribute to the Story. We see you, we hear you, and we feel your spirit. Let me end with two quotes; spirited words of two of my heroines; Helen Keller and Audrey Hepburn. Both have become my mantras since I began my own entrepreneurial journey in 2009.
Penina, a female entrepreneur, May 2014
"I was forced to develop my inner resources."
— Golda Meir
"What matters is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment."
— Victor Frankl
In my post last week here on Tumblr, entitled, “Is Your Digital Footprint Meaningful”, I wrote that the way a person in the Digital Age AKA iEra interacts with technology says a lot about themselves. I believe it speaks volumes about their adaptability and curiosity. It also says a lot about their potential for collaboration and potential for leadership . The meaning behind a person’s digital avatar and what he/she stands for is conveyed in a variety of ways. They can include:
• The type of content posted
• The type of digital platform used to post that content
• The legacy-driven mindset which colors the lens through which content gets shared/tagged/curated
• The wording and visuals used when sharing/promoting one’s Story and brand
That’s why it’s not enough to create and publicize your entrepreneurial digital avatar online. You need to contribute to the collective ecosystems and online communities you become part of. You need to educate, inspire, and drive engagement; creatively, consistently, and compassionately. To imbue one’s digital avatar with meaning means doing so to one’s real time reputation, mission, and conduct first.
That’s why I still believe that entrepreneurial success hinges on transparency re: one’s real self and work self. It thus also hinges on pairing one’s digital footprint with live networking events, to provide thought leadership and opportunities for mentorship, like the one I went to today. It really hit home the need to work together individually and collectively, and to use social media to build a better world. It’s something I write more about in my business book, The NICE Reboot.
I attended the JWE- Jewish Women Entrepreneurs 2014 Conference today to learn, network, and support an emerging ecosystem. One where redefining work relationships happens one hierarchy replacement at a time. Where navigating the cultural minefield is a challenging reality, as is the difficulty getting venture capital, and diversified mentorship.
To learn the steps of these complicated dances, women entrepreneurs must first understand their own core competency; what traits and skills can add or detract from the entrepreneurial journey in real time. Then there needs to be an understanding of buyer personae, which is where knowing how to apply Maslow’s Hierarchy to social media and technology is becoming increasingly valuable. Finally, there needs to be an acceptance that while you will be wearing many hats, especially if you are bootstrapping, you will still need help. That means that you will need to ASK for help, especially with niche-marketing your service/product.
Because while women entrepreneurs may be more globally connected technologically, we remain in our cultural and psychological silos, even in this day and age.
That’s why one’s reputation and integrity are enhanced when embedding widespread mentorship and social entrepreneurship leanings in your entrepreneurial mission’s DNA. You need to do so from the start. Why?
• It steers you towards collaboration with individuals and ecosystems that share your values.
• It allows you to experience different networking and mentorship opportunities outside of your industry and comfort zone
• It foreshadows and forecasts your trajectory when launching and scaling, not to mention problem solving; the raison d’être for a successful entrepreneur.
• It influences your marketing campaigns; no matter if it’s outbound, inbound, digital, and/or visual content marketing.
In essence, it will influence the artistry and architecture of your digital avatar, your digital footprint, and your entrepreneurial Story and HOW you choose to share it with the world.
Dr. Seuss has long been one of my virtual mentors and literary inspirations for seeking meaning behind the seemingly mundane artistry and architecture of one’s thought leadership. We can learn much from him, such as these 11 life lessons. Helen Keller has been another hero of mine, whose letters have given the world much food for thought on the power of media to create a legacy and lasting impact. You can see what I mean by reading 2 of her letters; here and here.
I gained much needed inspiration and terrific food for thought on female entrepreneurship’s power and pitfalls from various presentations and speakers at the JWE today. I was particularly impressed with Sarah Lipman, CTO at technology company Power2B, and Deborah Gallant, founder of the business coaching and marketing company Bold Business Works. I was even more impressed with these deceptively simple and eloquent words uttered by keynote speaker Talia Mashiach, CEO of Eved, a software development and professional services company in the meeting and event industry, who spoke about integrity in business:
"If what I said or did ended up on the front cover of The Wall Street Journal, would I be comfortable with that? Happy it’s out there?"
Isn’t it time to ask this question of yourself, especially when using your digital avatar as your mouthpiece?